Heuristic policies for mobile asset sharing within hospitals
Fescioğlu Ünver, Nilgün
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Hospitals that share their mobile assets among departments can use real time locating systems (RTLS) to track the assets. Caregivers use RTLS to locate the closest assets and request these assets from those departments. However caregivers state that they are reluctant to give permission to asset transfers, and if they need an asset right after authorizing the transfer to another department, they regret their decision. The aim of this study is to provide simple and easily applicable asset transfer policies to be integrated with RTLS and decrease the number of regrets. The policies introduced determine the departments to transfer an asset from and recommend a set of assets to caregivers. These policies use sorting and time series forecasting methods to transform the asset availability and demand data gathered from RTLS, into useful information. We use simulation method to test the performance of the policies in a medium sized hospital environment. Results show that using RTLS to transfer the closest assets significantly increases the number of regrets. The proposed policies decrease the number of regrets while keeping the time it takes an asset to reach a patient at a low level. Policies are robust to changes in demand rate and demand patterns. Integrating RTLS with decision support mechanisms significantly improves the value RTLS provides. (C) 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.